If anyone visits this blog anymore, they will have noticed the presence of some book-cover photos in the links portion of my page. Those books, which represent a random selection of titles I actually own, are there thanks to the LibraryThing -- a totally free site that provides a place for you to enter the titles of every book you own, whether simply to keep track of them or to participate in the online community also housed at LibraryThing.com. I love my books, and my enthusiasm for often results in my lending them willy-nilly without marking down who has which book! LibraryThing enables me to have a record of who has borrowed what and when and how much their overdue charges amount to... well, just kidding on that last part.
Another cool feature is the count of shared titles -- in other words, how many other people in the LibraryThing community own the books you own. My most common book is, naturally, Pride and Prejudice, which is deservedly popular, and my least common book is (somewhat to my surprise) Nigerian author Chinua Achebe's chilling and beautiful novel Things Fall Apart. 11, 675 other users own P&P, while I am the only user to own Things Fall Apart.
The three new additions to this list, the books I've bought to read this summer, are:
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dustbowl (Finished this one. It's amazing. I especially recommend it to those who didn't grow up in America -- the Great Depression is probably the defining event of the post-Civil War U.S. I would even go so far as to say that if you don't understand the Depression, you don't understand America.)
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (Reading this now. So far, it's very dense, challenging, and fascinating. I'm really enjoying having to take it slow, and I'm learning a lot! Chronologically it made sense to read this after The Worst Hard Time because WWII basically brought the U.S. out of the Depression.)
Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's (Looking forward to this. Apparently the building was completely demolished at the whim of a Pope so that he could rebuild it to his specifications. I'm very interested to learn more about the Renaissance through the lens of the building of this important monument.)